New! Carex pensylvanica
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Carex pensylvanica

New! Carex pensylvanica

Quick Facts
Common Name: Sedge
Hardiness Zone: 3-8S/W Exposure: Part Shade to Shade
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Mature Height: 8-12"
Spacing: 8-10" Read our Growing Guide
Ships as: 32 PLANT TRAY Deer Resistance: Yes
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Product Details

Product Details

Native to woodland areas and thickets in eastern and central North America, versatile, semi-evergreen Carex pensylvanica is a worthy asset in shady areas of the garden and yard. Plants produce up to 1' sprays of finely textured green foliage that turns the color of wheat toward autumn. This highly serviceable Ornamental Grass is drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, and tolerant of shade, part shade, and dry shade. It is also a larval food plant for native butterfly caterpillars. The grass can be used in borders to fill in around the bases of tall perennials or planted en masse as a substitute for lawn. Plants spread gradually by rhizome, but are not invasive. They form a dense mat that can be mowed two to three times per season to a height of 3-4". (Keep in mind that Carex pensylvanica will tolerate only light foot traffic so choose your sites accordingly.) One of our staff members uses this grass in her home garden in various habitats: along the driveway with native Columbine; in a shade garden as a contrast plant with other natives including Christmas Fern and Heuchera villosa; and interplanted with spring bulbs that produce grassy foliage such as Crocus, Scilla, and Galanthus nivalis.

The globally distributed genus Carex, comprising well over 1,500 species, is a highly versatile group of plants for gardens and landscapes. Otherwise known as Sedges, these diverse perennials are identified by their unique triangular stems as described in the beloved botanical mnemonic, “Sedges have edges, Rushes are round…” Sedges, sometimes grown as annuals depending on a region’s cold hardiness zone, have either a spreading (rhizomatous) or a tufted habit. Their linear leaves, from hair-like to strap-shaped, can be deciduous or evergreen and are often colored or variegated, making these plants coveted for their foliage. There is a Sedge for practically every condition, whether sun or shade, wet or dry, which opens this genus to a wide range of uses. In gardens, they are great as ground covers (especially beneath or alongside shade perennials) or as toppers for sunny stone walls. They are finding their way into larger projects, too, such as bioswales and alternatives for lawns. Here at White Flower Farm, we love using Sedges in container plantings, where the leaves add linear interest and terrific texture amid annuals and succulents.

For more information on the growing and care of Carex, click Growing Guide.




The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship these perennials and annuals in 1 pint pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting, but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience. We ship bulbs as dormant, bare bulbs, sometimes with some wood shavings or moss. Shrubs, Roses, vines, and other woody plants may be shipped bareroot or in pots. The size of the pot is noted in the quick facts for each item.


We ship our bulbs and plants at the right time for planting in your area, except as noted, with orders dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis by climate zone. We also ship a wide range of containers and planters, tools, supplies, fertilizers, garden wear, garden decor items, as well as indoor decorations like wreaths and dried bouquets when available. Estimated dates for shipping are indicated in the green Shipping Details box for each item. Please supply a street address for delivery. Kindly contact us with two weeks notice, if you'll be away at the expected time of delivery.


We guarantee to ship plants that are in prime condition for growing. If your order is damaged or fails to meet your expectations, we will cheerfully replace or refund it. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-503-9624 or email us at [email protected]. Please include your order number or customer number when contacting us.



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Growing guide

Growing guide
Print Grow Guide

Most varieties of ornamental grasses grow well in full sun and average garden soil. Keep their foliage for winter effect, cutting back all except the evergreen varieties (Festuca) before new growth emerges in the spring. Refresh Festucas by "raking" out the dried and dead leaves with gloved fingers.

Some species thrive in part shade, or even full shade, expanding the possibilities for Grasses in the garden. Hakonechloa is suitable in part shade, Sesleria in full sun to part shade, and Carex (Sedge) can thrive in full sun to full shade locations, depending on the variety. All need soil that stays evenly moist, although Sesleria can tolerate drier soils, and even drought.

Transplant and divide in spring. Grasses that spread by rhizomes ("run" ) can be invasive and should be divided every year or so. Grasses that grow in clumps die out in the center and need dividing every few years. 

Fertilize ornamental grasses in spring with a balanced fertilizer.  We don't recommend, however, fertilizing them their first spring to allow the roots enough time to settle in before having to support their very lush top growth. 

Ornamental Grasses appear to be quite deer-resistant. Evidently the sharp-edged leaves are unpalatable.

Grasses are at home in mixed borders of perennials, bulbs, and shrubs. Consider summer and fall-blooming perennials as companions: Achillea, Rudbeckia, Helenium, Asters, Monarda, Perovskia, Phlox, and Oriental Lilies. The large Miscanthus varieties work well in the back of a border, or even as single specimens. Because most grasses are sited in the middle or back of a border and are cut back in early spring, we like to plant spring-flowering bulbs around them for color early in the year. Daffodils, Tulips, and Alliums bloom while the Grasses provide little to look at. Then the Grasses and foreground perennials sprout and camouflage the bulbs' maturing foliage.